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I was recently reading (I know how to do that. It’s math that’s tricky for me) an article about what book changed your life. I have one of those books I’d like to share with you. Without it, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do what I did or become the person I am.
The book, “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck was the inspiration I needed to quit a job before I had another lined up. Not a big deal for some of you but for this girl, it simply was NOT done. I had rent to pay, groceries to buy and two parents who had ingrained in me the absolute need to get another job before quitting the current one.
I was 40 when I read this book and made the leap without a safety net. Looking back, there WAS a job waiting, I just couldn’t see it yet. It was called Inner Focus Reiki.
The following exercise is designed to evaluate your ‘essential self’ as Martha calls it. See where you are in your life by taking the following “I’m completely in HELL” exercise. I’ll blog the “I’m SO on my correct path” exercises later.
There is so much more to this book but hopefully this experiment will help open your eyes, even if they are squeezed tightly shut. Like I said, it was life changing for me.
1. Energy Crisis – Try to remember three different events or type of events (i.e. dental appointments, jobs, classes, social functions, etc.) where you HAD to show up but felt reluctant and low-energy. Circle the response that has the most negative association for you.
2. Sick, Sick, Sick – Try to remember three times when your health was below par. What was going on in your life during each of these three periods? List each situation (they can be the same as in Energy Crisis) AND the physical symptoms you suffered. Circle the worst symptom.
3. Forgetting – Write down three types of information you find difficult to remember (example: people’s names, school schedules, important documents). Circle the type of information you forget most often.
4. Blunders o’ Blunders – Write down three stupid mistakes you remember making. Circle the most disastrous mistake.
5. Social Suicide – Name three people who bring out your very WORST social behavior (like every time you’re around this person you feel like a complete ass, you revert to being a child or you need a complete lobotomy).
6. Fight or Flight – List the times when you couldn’t sleep, slept poorly or slept so much you felt groggy or squalid (squalid? Uh, OK). List the three problems in your life that cause sleep dis-order. Circle the issue that most disrupted your sleep.
7. Addiction – Name ONE (yes, only one) bad habit or obsessive pattern you’ve been unable to eliminate (for me, it’s biting my nails. Hey! I only had to pick ONE of them!). Now remember what happened to trigger this bad habit the last three times you fell off the wagon. For example, for me, it’s overwhelming stress that I feel I have too much on my plate and I’m not talkin’ dinner plate. Circle the trigger that is most likely to make you turn to your addictive habit.
8. Moody Blues – List the last three times you experienced a VERY bad mood or a mood that seemed inexplicable, unjustifiable or extreme. Again, note what was happening in your life at the time these moods occurred. Circle the one that brought out your worst mood.
You did it!!! That’s it for the questions. Now comes the ‘fun’ part which is getting your essential self (or soul) to speak to you. Go back and review the items you’ve circled. It’s fill in the blank time, boys and girls. And this isn’t gonna be pretty. Ready? Take a big gulp of air………
YOUR OWN WORST CASE SCENARIO:
Imagine for a moment that you are in/at (response from #1 – lowest-energy situation) ________________________________. You are surrounded by (#5 – all THREE names on your list) ________________________________________ You’re not feeling your best, in fact, your (#2 – worst medical symptom) ______________________________ is bothering you more than ever. You’ve been given a lifetime assignment that involves working with (#3 – most forgettable information) ________________________.
All the people in the room are authorized to watch you constantly, criticize your performance and punish you if you make any mistakes. Speaking of mistakes, you’ve just done (#4 – stupidest mistake) ______________________________ a fact that was noted by your three supervisors. Your life in general is pretty difficult right now; that whole thing with (#6 – sleep disturbances) ________________ is happening all over again. You’re also trying to deal with (#7 – worst bad habit trigger) ___________________________. To top it ALL off, (#8 – bad mood situation) ___________________________ is more intense than ever.
Just when things are at their worst ________________ (#5 – the person who makes you the most uncomfortable) walks up. He/she orders you to stand up, politely smile in a way that is both humble and worshipful and say to the entire assembly, “I admire you so much. Thank you, THANK YOU for letting me be here. You are such a terrific person and this is just what I deserve. I want to live this way for the rest of my life!”
How about that?! How ABOUT that?! Feeling like kaka?! If you can vividly imagine this horrible situation, you’re experiencing your own blend of anger, despair, illness, etc. It doesn’t feel good, does it?
Are your eyes opening? Are you learning anything about what you essentially need? This book clearly states no one is supposed to EVER feel this way. EVER!!! And yet we do, don’t we America?
Think about this scenario for a while or until you throw up, whichever comes first. I’ll work on Part 2 (it’s much better, I promise) and you’ll see (pun intended) where I’m going.